Good God almighty it seems like a jillion years ago that defunct tequila bar Lime went up for sale – well, two years to be exact, which is an eternity in Blog Years – but at long last the everybody-has-seen-the-signs-up-but-never-seems-to-ever-have-been-opened Dirty Oars Tavern (801 E Fort Ave., Riverside) has finally opened its doors for business. Here’s our first impression.
Interior wise and structurally absolutely nothing has changed since Lime except the paint job – a nice cool blue with a nautical them – with one very important distinction; beer taps are now at the far end of the bar (far from the side entrance, which is the main entrance). Featuring a standard line up of Summer Shandy, Boh, and a few others the selection is by no means large but a crucial addition to what Lime lacked previously. Drafts run the typical (-ly high these days) $5-6, with happy hour specials about including one of my favorites in the form of Flip Night (Tuesdays), when you can flip a coin to win discounts on booze. The “Shot Oar,” a party favorite in which a big fat oar with holes drilled in it and shots stuck to it while a line of people take a team shot, is also present. A Ringing The Bull setup is also at one end of the bar with patrons being encouraged to compete with bartenders and even the owners for free drinks. Good stuff.
Speaking of booze the vast Tequila selection has been replaced with a by the numbers run of flavored vodkas, whiskeys and bottled beer selection, nothing too off the wall to be sure but that’s not a bad thing. The food is a very sandwich shop-esque rundown of turkey sandwiches ($7.95, eesh) Dietz and Watson sausages ($6.00), Rubens ($7.95) and so forth that while tasty, portion wise aren’t terribly impressive but there are plenty of specials on the daily included that offset the sticker shock.
The major selling point for Dirty Oars is the atmosphere, it’s a very decent neighborhood establishment with immensely friendly service and folks coming in and out, all met with smiles and hellos. If they can get a decent rotation of regulars mixed in with curious Fort Avenue walkers looking for something new they’ll do just fine, a fine addition to the area indeed and their level of enthusiasm seems to be a driving force – the family owned Dirty Oars really does want to be a place you’d want to come back to on the regular.
And if you do decide to come by, try the Patriot – a layered, Blue Curacoa laden beverage which is currently (at least, as of a day or so ago) $5.
Best of luck to you, Dirty Oars Tavern!